Coming from a background in the education field, Natalie Knox has a passion for helping people meet their goals.
Knox, personal and professional development advisor and education services officer, Marine Corps Community Services, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, was recently named Civilian of the Year.
“Our main focus is to serve service members, to help them transition out of the military and meet their educational goals,” Knox said.
Knox has been in her current position for five years after having spent 18 years working in enrollment services for Albany State University. In MCCS, Knox is instrumental in helping service members seek additional funding for college, resources for stress management and ensuring they are equipped to handle the transition to civilian life.
Jennifer Anderson, readiness program manager, MCCS, MCLB Albany, has worked with Knox a little over a year.
“When I started my position as the P&PD program manager, it was overwhelming,” Anderson said. “Natalie was a wonderful support. She was consistently willing to assist with anything I needed. Her knowledge of the education program specifically, and of the P&PD operation as a whole, is impressive.”
Anderson spoke of Knox’s willingness to go the extra mile and how her attitude helps the overall MCCS team.
“She wants to ensure when service members come in, they leave happy,” Anderson said. “We have a good group of folks, and Natalie is an integral part of the team.”
“I am thrilled she got this award, and feel it is much deserved,” she continued.
Part of Knox’s job is making sure service members know how SkillBridge Employment Training Program can be utilized to accommodate a career switch. SkillBridge offers courses geared toward learning skills that are in high demand, as well as interviews, placements or certifications.
Active-duty personnel are not the only individuals Knox can help with educational opportunity and development. Dependents, spouses, retired military and Department of Defense civilians also come to see her to help plan their future.
Knox said the most fulfilling part of her job is seeing service members, and their spouses and dependents, turn their ambitions into action and get fruitful results. She is able to witness them get accepted into SkillBridge, as well as secure interviews and scholarship opportunities.
“In higher education, our services are called student services,” she said. “I consider what I do here as student services for the Marine Corps.”
Knox has a hand the Accessing Higher Education and Transition Readiness programs as well as the Portable Business Fair and Career and Education Fair. She has collaborated with the base’s school liaison for a teen youth camp and the Marine Corps teen building director for F.A.B.ulous Spouses, more commonly known as F.A.B. Spouses, events.
“We are the glue that assists service members with professional and personal goals,” Knox said. “We give them resources and tools, and continue to assist them as needed.”
“(It helps individuals) just knowing services are there, and they are taking advantage of those services,” she added.
Knox said the Welcome Aboard brief provides active-duty personnel a chance to learn about MCCS and its services when coming to MCLB Albany so they know where to go when they are ready.
“We let them know about us as much as possible,” Knox said.
Knox said she is humbled to be recognized as Civilian of the Year.
“It is one thing to be recognized for what you do, and then realizing you are just doing your job,” she said. “I believe in helping service members and people in general. This is just an extension of what I have been doing all of my life.”
Hard work, dedication and perseveration are what Knox said she believes makes her stand out, and the Civilian of the Year honor gives her further motivation.
“It is icing on the cake,” she said. “It is an honor to be selected, and I am honored to know people recognize that.”
From here, Knox said she wants to build opportunities that connect and collaborate with other MCCS programs.
“I will continue to work hard serving the Marine Corps and Marine Corps family, and think of new, creative ways to serve the community,” she said. “I am humbled and grateful to be selected just for what I do.”
Marcus White, director, Marine and Family Programs, MCCS, MCLB Albany, said Knox, based on what he has seen of her work ethic, is a professionally-minded employee.
“She serves customers and clients with courtesy,” White said. “She goes the extra mile to ensure there is enough information for families and service members to make informed decisions.”
“I have observed Ms. Knox to be professional. She is a team player and is always willing to offer solutions to problems,” he added.
White said the job Knox does and how she performs it plays a big part in the Marine Corps mission.
“It ties into the entire Marine Corps mission of supporting the warfighter and focusing on readiness as well,” he said.